Armavia was Armenia’s flag carrier, but entered bankruptcy on March 29, 2013 and suspended all operations on April 1, 2013. I got in just in time, for I doubt there would have been a refund if my flight had been one month later.
Armavia is gone…liquidated, and Armenia’s primary cargo carrier, Air Armenia, has been granted authority to operate commercial flights and thus become Armenia’s new flag carrier. Armavia was founded in 1996, but did not begin commercial operations until 2001.
I was booked on a particularly noteworthy route—Armavia’s Yerevan-Istanbul thrice-weekly service marked a sign of rapprochement between the two nations, who still have been unable to come to terms with competing views of history surrounding the Armenian Genocide. The ticket was $272 after taxes, quite steep for a short flight, and I booked it on Armavia’s website.
Zvartnots International Airport was totally overhauled between 2006 and 2011 and is clean, sleek, and modern—a stark contrast to most of Yerevan. Though compact, the airport is easily navigable and so different from many of the aging former SSR airports.
Why in the heck did the flight have to depart at 2am? Was it so that the Armavia plane could slip in and out of Istanbul under the cover of darkness, alerting as few people as possible?
It was a short two-hour flight so there was no time for napping, particularly when a meal was served after the takeoff. The aging 737-500 was grimy onboard and legroom horrible, though not as bad as Ariana Afghan Airlines.
Service was not terrible, though not especially friendly. Everyone was served an identical meal after takeoff and it appeared to be a hoof with one or two bites of meat on it served with white rice, a syrupy carrot salad, bread, soft apple slices, a small piece of yellow cake, and a choice of beverage. It had been six hours since I had eaten so I did eat it, but only to pass the time.
We landed on-time in Istanbul and I retreated to the Turkish Airlines Star Gold lounge for a real meal before realizing that I had left my passport in the seatback pocket. Thankfully, it was still there.
Read the rest of my trip report to the Caucasus!
Thrown Off a United Airlines Flight for Taking Pictures!
Washington Dulles to Kuwait City in United Airlines BusinessFirst
Six Hours in Kuwait City
Pearl Lounge – Kuwait International Airport
Kuwait City to Istanbul in Turkish Airlines Economy Class
Istanbul to Baku in Azerbaijan Airlines Economy Class
Baku – A City of Illusions?
Review: Park Hyatt Baku
Baku Metro (Pictures)
Overnight Train from Baku to Tbilisi, Georgia
Pictures: One Day in Tbilisi, Georgia
Overnight Train from Tbilisi to Yerevan, Armenia
Feeling at Home in Yerevan
Yerevan to Istanbul in Armavia Economy Class
The Flight Home from Istanbul…